Wasn’t that a wonderful first week back? It was everything I wished it would be and more. I was especially thrilled with that incredible Word, but you can never go wrong with Stephen wearing a funny Mayan hat and holding a chicken. Or gizmos that symbolically flush Erin Burnett down the toilet. Really–especially that.
Now Ms. Burnett has thrown down the gauntlet and we’ll see if Stephen stoops to pick it up…and conquer. In any case, the political world is serving up some hot, fresh material that’s ripe for the taking. Did you hear that Mitt Romney let loose a Freudian slip by saying that “he loves to fire people?” Okay–when you hear the statement in context it’s a lot more complicated than that, but his fellow GOP vultures are already swooping down to feed on the line. And it should provide lots of fun for either Jon or Stephen. And with TWO, count ‘em TWO, Republican debates in less than 12 hours, I’m sure both staffs will have enough jokes to put some aside or tweet mightily.
So, let’s look at the guests–they’re quite good and Jon in particular has a really star-studded week.
Monday, 1/9: Melissa Harris-Perry
Here’s a guest I’m really looking forward to–a smart, witty, and politically savvy woman who straddles the academic and journalistic worlds. I have been following Melissa Harris-Perry on Twitter for quite a while and have absolutely no doubt she’s an it-getter who can go one-on-one with Stephen . Tulane professor (where she also heads the Race Center and is currently teaching a course on First Ladies), political commentator, and writer for the Nation Melisa Harris-Perry has a recently released book called Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Looking at images old and new, from “Mammy” to Precious, she examines harmful and limiting depictions of African American women. I wonder if Stephen will speak to her about the book and film version of The Help, which Harris-Perry strongly criticized.
In the past, Harris-Perry has sometimes sat in for Rachel Maddow when Maddow was off, but she won’t have to do that anymore because she’s getting a program of her very own on MSNBC. Beginning on February 4th, she’ll host a weekend show from 10AM to noon. This makes her the first African American woman to host a political show on cable. About time, I say.
Harris-Perry has formerly taught at Princeton and the University of Chicago, and a previous book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought (written when she was Harris-Lacewell) won the W.E.B. DuBois Award. Oh—and she’s also a huge New Orleans Saints fan. Who Dat!
Visit her website.
Follow her on Twitter.
Like her page on Facebook. (She also has a private one where you need to send a friend request)
Listen to her speak on race and politics. This is lengthy, but smart and funny and interesting.
Read her “Sister Citizen” column in The Nation.
Harris-Perry discussed Sister Citizen in The New York Times.
Read a review of Sister Citizen in the Washington Post.
Tuesday, 1/10: Bill Moyers
The longtime host of Bill Moyers Journal,which ended not that long ago, is back. He’s about to embark on a new venture: a program called Moyers & Company, which will air beginning this month on public television stations across the nation. Apparently, retirement doesn’t agree with Moyers and the tumultuous politics of the age are impossible for him to resist–and for us, the audience, that’s a good thing. The Carnegie Corporation has provided funding for the show. Here’s a promo you can watch to give you a feel of where Moyers is heading.
Moyers, who originally worked for both PBS and CBS when the latter network was still renowned for its news programs, thanks to its illustrious history of anchors like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, chose to examine issues in-depth. Each of his own programs often showcased only a topic or two, and he also produced several focused documentaries. Prior to becoming a TV journalist, however, he served as Lyndon Johnson’s personal assistant, then the associate director of public affairs for the Peace Corps, and finally as President Johnson’s press secretary. Much honored for his reporting, Moyers has won numerous Emmy® Awards as well as a few Peabodys and the DuPont/Columbia Silver Baton Award. He also received an honorary doctorate from the American Film Institute.
Visit Bill Moyers’ website for the new show.
The New York Times just published a good article on the new show.
Follow him on Twitter.
There’s very little negative about Moyers, but this Slate article has some interesting things to say about his past.
Wednesday, 1/11: George Stephanopoulos
Once candidate Bill Clinton’s campaign advisor, then President Clinton’s communications director, and now a member of the press himself: George Stephanopoulos seems to be always in the midst of juggling TV programs. He rarely has just one show to host. Right now, he’s got This Week, airing on ABC, and has been busy covering all the goings-on with the GOP in the Granite State (aka New Hampshire). He also serves as ABC’s chief political correspondent whenever there’s news coverage—and he co-hosts the more chatty, less hard newsy Good Morning America. At the moment, he’s facing criticism that he was too tough on the Mitt Romney in Saturday night’s debate. (The questioning concerned Romney’s views on contraception.)
Stephanopoulos received his BA in political science from Columbia University, but his first broadcast job was actually as a sports reporter on Columbia’s radio station. He announced soccer games, which must have given him and college player Jon lots to talk about in the past. Later, with the help of Rhodes scholarship (also held by friend Bill Clinton) he earned an MA in theology at Oxford before going on to work for Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign and joining the staff of Dick Gephardt, the majority leader in the House of Representatives. Then came the life-changing Clinton campaign, so beautifully captured in the wonderful documentary The War Room, made by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. (See it if you haven’t.) He has helped found the Next Generation Initiative, aimed at helping “students gain the experience and skills their careers will demand through internships, fellowhsips, and Master Classes (sic—I wouldn’t have capped the M and the C).”
I am hoping for a lively discussion—there’s certainly plenty of political action to talk about.
He’s a friend of the show! This is his third visit. Stephanopoulos appeared on the Report before, about a year ago. (Hey look at Stephen’s feet—remember the Dutch wooden shoes?) He also was on in 2006.
Here’s his blog page on ABC.
Follow him on Twitter.
Subscribe to his feed on Facebook.
Read an interview with him about the Clinton Years.
Thursday, 1/12: Mike Allen
Mike Allen is the White House reporter for Politico and the co-author of the new e- and audio book-only Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back (Politico Inside Election 2012). Published last November, it provides a close-up look at the Republican contestants battling it out in primary season. I’m not sure if, because this is an e-book, they’re going to do revising; I doubt it, and that’s a pity, as much has changed in a few months. Still, most of the basic issues probably remain stable. This is just the first in a planned “online bookstore” curated by Politico and Random House.
Before joining Politico, Allen worked as a reporter with both Time magazine and the Washington Post covering politics and current affairs. The son of a member of the virulently conservative John Birch Society, he’s considered extremely influential—so powerful that in 2010 The New York Times published an article about him called “The Man the White House Wakes Up To.” To me, that’s kind of scary. I firmly believe that journalists should keep their distance from the people they cover, so the idea that the White House Communications Director checks in with him regularly first and last thing in the day rubs me the wrong way.
Only a few days ago, Allen got into a fracas with Rick Perry over a story he wrote claiming that members of Perry’s staff felt he hadn’t handled the presidential race…well, presidentially enough.
Follow his daily “Political Playbook” on Politico.
Of course, Mike Allen tweets!
How much money does Allen’s Playbook make? Here are the numbers—and they’re big.
Read another profile of Allen, this time in The Daily Beast.
And now, let’s check in with our good friend, Jon!
Monday, 1/9: George Lucas
Okay–you all know who he is, don’t you? Chariman of LucasFilm, head of Industrial Light and Magic, and director of one of the biggest blockbuster film franchises ever created. He’s also the man who is cannier about marketing than even the movie studios. Did you know when he retained the rights to Star Wars toys and other associated material, the studio didn’t even want to fight him for it? Up until that time, only children’s movies made money on that type of thing. Well, Lucas laughed all the way to the bank on that one. Now, I have something to admit: the only Star Wars film I like is the second of the original group, The Empire Strikes Back, and I despise the Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks. I wish Lucas would once again use his filmmaking chops to make something as interesting and fresh as American Graffiti again. However, he just produced a new film that sounds fascinating, and he’ll probably be discussing that with Jon. It’s called Red Tails and deals with the Tuskegee airmen on World War II–the pioneering African American pilots who faced such terrible racism. It’s a worthy project about a very important subject–and Lucas is right: kids should know about this.
Visit the LucasFilm website.
He has created a foundation to support education, called Edutopia.
See his artist’s page on the Filmmakers Fund.
PBS did an American Masters program on him.
And of course…watch George and Stephen do green screen battle!
Tuesday, 1/10: Judge Andrew Napolitano
New Jersey judge Andrew Napolitano also serves as a Faux News–oops, Fox News–commentator, addressing primarily legal issues. He also has appeared on a number of courtroom TV shows, including Power of Attorney, which also featured celeb lawyers representing clients. He currently hosts Freedomwatch on Fox Business, and takes a libertarian view of the world. Napolitano has also authored several books, the most recent of which is It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong, published in 2011.
He was on The Daily Show before, in an extended interview.
Visit his official online home.
Like him on Facebook. (I personally wouldn’t.)
Forbes reviewed It Is Dangerous to Be Right…
Follow him on Twitter.
Wednesday, 1/11: Sen. Jim DeMint
I kind of wish Stephen were doing this interview, because DeMint is from South Carolina, and with everything going on, I suspect that would be lots more delicious. But I’m sure Jon will do a fine job. Jim DeMint is a deeply conservative senator whose educational background was in marketing (he has an MBA from Clemson and ran his own marketing firm). He’s on some of the most imporant committees, including Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and the Joint Economic Committee. DeMint’s newest book is Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse, should become available this week. (If you follow the link to the website, you will be able to read an excerpt.) What I want to know is: how did South Carolina produce both him and Stephen?
DeMint helped create the Senate Conservatives Fund PAC. What…it’s not super?
You can follow him on Twitter–again, you won’t see me there.
The Washington Post has his voting record.
He called the Veterans’ Hiring Bill a “trick.”
Jim DeMint does not believe in unions and he introduced the “Right to Work” bill in the Senate. (Orwell speak, I think.)
Thursday, 1/12: Dolly Parton
It’s the queen of country music — and a real fun way to end the week! I love Dolly; she’s such a character as well as a talented singer and composer. Her career began when she was just a child, and she kept on going. (Her first big hit was “Dumb Blonde,” but that’s one thing she isn’t.) For a while, she had a strong partnership with the singer Porter Waggoner, and then spun off on her own. Now it’s eight Grammy Awards later, plus a lifetime achievement; a hit movie based on one of her songs (Nine to Five); and a theme park called Dollywood. She has a new album and film–with another Queen, Latifah–called Joyful Noise; a charitable foundation, and a literacy program. You go, lady!
Here’s an article about Joyful Noise, in the New York Daily News.
That’s it, folks! Let me know who you are most looking forward to. And hey–how are you all going with those New Year’s resolutions?